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Just three articles in the local papers today...

Art Garcia has an article about new Mavericks assistant Sam Vincent adjusting to life in basketball in a role other than head coach.

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Dwain price reports that Dirk and Devin Harris might play in tonight's preseason game and he also talks to ESPN's Greg Anthony who likes the Mavs chances this year.

I think Dallas is the team to beat in the NBA this season," Anthony said. "I like the makeup of their team, I like the growth and leadership from Dirk [Nowitzki], and I think that's really been big.

"You saw it from two years ago to last year in the playoffs how he stepped up his game. Not just in terms of what he did statistically, but like I said, the leadership. That's important."

Anthony said the continued growth of Josh Howard also is key to whether the Mavs can win the NBA title this season. In addition, he was gushing about the Mavs' off-season acquisitions.

"They got a lot of positive pieces that are going to benefit them," Anthony said. "Anthony Johnson is going to help. Austin Croshere was a solid move, because he gives you some versatility. And I think he can have a little bit more of an impact than Keith Van Horn."

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And Eddie Sefko has a good article about what Avery Johnson is expecting out of Josh Howard this season.

"Josh is the least of my problems," Johnson said Wednesday. "He's coachable. He wants to get it right. He makes the Mavericks a championship-caliber team if he can move from two to four categories."

That last little detail is what Johnson is stressing to Howard this season. The fourth-year swingman's points and rebounds have been solid and consistent for the last two seasons.

Now, Johnson said, it's time for the 6-7 Howard to pick up his assists and steals. Basically, Howard is being expected to come up with three assists per game. And hockey assists, where there may be two or three passes that lead to an easy basket, count in Johnson's book.